The Washington Post

Never tell the Indiana Pacers the odds

(Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

The Atlanta Hawks were on the verge of closing out their NBA playoff series with the Indiana Pacers. Jeff Teague had just scored his 29th point of the night, a 17-foot jumper, giving the Hawks a 84-79 lead with three minutes left. It was also a great night for Paul Millsap, who, according to Elias Sports Bureau, became the first player in playoff history to accumulate 16 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, two blocks and a three-pointer in the same game. He would also commit a foul on David West that would spark Atlanta’s demise.

According to, up until the foul, Atlanta had a win expectancy of 81.6 percent when Teague fouled West, who then converted both free throws, stole the ball from Pero Antic eight seconds later and drained a 19-foot jumper off a pass by George Hill, dropping Atlanta’s chance of winning to 63.3 percent with 2 minutes 35 seconds left.

With 46.5 seconds left, West made a driving jump shot, giving him 22 points, putting the Pacers up 87-85  and lowering Atlanta’s chances to 27.7 percent.

With less than 19 seconds left, West would grab a defensive rebound, giving him 11 total on the night (three offensive, eight defensive), and then score his 24th point of the game on a running layup. With 10 seconds remaining and the Pacers now up 95-88, Atlanta’s chances were zero.


West would get his first double-double of the 2014 playoffs and finish the game with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.

“[West has] poise and composure,” Pacers Coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s our rock. There’s no other way to put it.”

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.



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Neil Greenberg · May 1, 2014